WARNING: The following post contains content that may be unpleasant or disgusting to some.
In Calgary we had rabbits in our neighbourhood. Where there are rabbits, there are many rabbits. They made themselves at home in our yard, ate our flowers, our lettuce and anything else that may have been otherwise successful at growing in our garden. They curled up in their own indentations in the yard where they thought we couldn’t see them.
In Cayman, we have chickens and iguanas. The chickens are annoying when they crow all night, but they are just part of life here. They don’t go in the pool and they never come up to my deck.
We have the native blue iguana, which is rare and is protected. I’ve never seen one outside of Queen Elizabeth Botanic Garden. We also have the invasive green iguanas, which I’m told were brought from Jamaica as pets. If you come from colder climates, as I do, they at first seem very exotic. However, they have no natural predator here, although dogs seem to be adapting to that role, and they multiply at a much faster rate than the blue iguana. They multiply like, well, like rabbits.
The green iguanas eat foliage. They can climb walls and they love to come out in the sunshine and relieve themselves on warm patios, pool decks and in swimming pools. They carry salmonella. They are not my pets. They are not my friends. They are no longer exotic to me. Imagine your yard and outdoor living area,( keeping in mind that most of our living is outdoors), overrun by dogs. Iguanas do not poop little rabbit pellets. The gifts they leave are like those left by dogs, but unfortunately, there is no conscientious owner following the dozens of iguanas around with little plastic bags or pooper-scoopers.
There are those who say that the iguanas are beautiful and historic creatures; that they should be left alone to thrive in nature. Would they say the same of the lionfish that is destroying the Caribbean reef? Maybe those same people would enjoy eating their breakfast on a feces covered patio. This is not their natural habitat and some feel that the green iguanas are taking over from the native blue iguana.
We used to arrive for a visit and find our deck covered in iguana poop. We have a second floor condo, but they have no problem climbing up to our deck. I have seen the iguanas crouched over the swimming pool about to use it as a toilet. I don’t care if they are in the grass and the trees. I don’t want them where I live. I don’t want salmonella in the small swimming pool that I use and that families with children use. It is very difficult to clean iguana feces out of the pool as it disintegrates and disseminates.
Our condo pool and the surrounding deck and sidewalks are cleaned once a week. The iguanas seem to be most attracted to the area about 5 minutes after the cleaners leave. I have chased away many an iguana with our trusty broom. Running out the door and down the stairs, waving my broom at the offenders, has become a new form of recreation. I’m sure the neighbours think I’m crazy.
I’ve been reading about iguanas, as in “know thine enemy”, and learned that they are creatures of habit. It is my mission to break them of the habit of coming to the pool or coming on our deck, or to stop them from forming those habits in the first place. It’s a big job, but who better to do it that the crazy retired lady with the broom?